It’s time for Spider-Man and Mary Jane to settle down and have a family – and Marvel’s writers know it. In 1987, history was made when Peter Parker and Mary Jane tied the knot. Marvel’s writers and editors spent the next few years trying to find a way to wriggle out of it. As celebrated Spider-Man writer Dan Slott explained in a post on the CBR forums back in 2017, Marvel had rushed into the marriage without thinking about the long-term implications. “It was seen as progressing the character too far and distancing him from his core,” Slott explained. “While for a number of fans who were reading along with the book at the time, it was an amazing status quo change that they got to witness and follow– it pushed the character past a point where new readership wouldn’t be introduced to the character in his regular setting. The core continuity Spider-Man can’t be a character for one generation, he’s an icon that every generation should be able to discover.“
And so, in 2007, Marvel finally undid the wedding of Peter and MJ in what is widely considered Spider-Man’s worst story, “One More Day.” Peter unwisely revealed his secret identity to the world, leading to his beloved Aunt May being murdered. He literally made a deal with the devil, or rather with Marvel’s equivalent, Mephisto. History was rewritten, Aunt May was saved, but at the cost of Peter and MJ’s marriage. In a particularly shocking twist, Marvel even revealed the girl Peter and MJ had been seeing visions of throughout the story was the daughter who would soon have been born – Mayday Parker, the Spider-Girl who had appeared in some popular comics set in a future timeline. It was a horrible way to treat Spider-Girl’s committed fans.
And yet, for all Marvel insist they don’t want to change Spider-Man’s character by having him marry, the reality is that an increasing number of writers are enjoying toying with the idea of Peter and MJ settling down with a family. It’s become such a common feature of alternate universe stories that Tom Taylor has set his new Dark Ages story in a world where they have a daughter, and nobody has even reacted. Marvel’s writers have realized there’s a real appetite for character growth in comics, not just more of the same old status quo. What’s more, it’s interesting to note that Mayday Parker has had a strong enough impact on comic book readers that every timeline has a daughter, and only occasionally a second male child.
By now, it’s clear momentum is building for “One More Day” to be undone and Spider-Man and MJ to have a family together. This has become what CBR‘s Brian Cronin calls a “snowball idea,” one that builds momentum until it becomes so big nobody can stop it. The current generation of Marvel writers grew up reading Spider-Man comics back in the ’90s, when Peter and MJ were together and the prospect of their having a family together was teased on an almost monthly basis; it’s therefore no surprise Nick Spencer’s current Amazing Spider-Man run seems to have the sole purpose of walking back “One More Day.”
The interesting question, though, will be how this affects the Spider-Man franchise as a whole. Marvel has frequently insisted Spider-Man’s youth is central to his character – that’s one reason the MCU has lingered over Peter Parker’s high school years longer than even the comics did – so this would be quite a radical departure, especially since it would differentiate the comics from the movies. But the readers are responding to the idea of Spider-Man and MJ having a family together, the writers seem keen to continue with it, and it increasingly looks inevitable. Spider-Man could soon change forever.